Page images

For want of use the kindest aliment
Sometimes offends ; while custom tames the rage
Of poison to mild amity with life.

Be frugal even of that ; a little give
At first ; that kindled, add a little more ;
Till, by deliberate nourishing, the flame
Revived, with all its wonted vigor glows.


EXCESS TO BE AVOIDED, AND EVEN SATIETY. So Heaven has formed us to the general taste Of all its gifts ; so custom has improved This bent of nature ; that few simple foods, Of all that earth, or air, or ocean yield, But by excess offend. Beyond the sense Of light refection, at the genial board Indulge not often ; nor protract the feast To dull satiety ; till soft and slow A drowsy death creeps on, the expansive soul Oppressed, and smothered the celestial fire. The stomach, urged beyond its active tone, Hardly to nutrimental chyle subdues The softest food : unfinished and depraved, The chyle, in all its future wanderings, owns Its turbid fountain ; not by purer streams So to be cleared, but foulness will remain. To sparkling wine what ferment can exalt The unripened grape ? Or what mechanic skill From the crude ore can spin the ductile gold ?

But though the two (the full and the jejune) Extremes have each their vice ; it much avails Ever with gentle tide to ebb and flow From this to that : so nature learns to bear Whatever chance or headlong appetite May bring. Besides, a meagre day subdues The cruder clods by sloth or luxury Collected, and unloads the wheels of life. Sometimes a coy aversion to the feast Comes on, while yet no blacker omen lowers ; Then is a time to shun the tempting board, Were it your natal or your nuptial day. Perhaps a fast so seasonable starves The latent seeds of woe, which, rooted once, Might cost you labor.



Gross riot treasures up a wealthy fund Of plagues ; but more immedicable ills Attend the lean extreme. For physic knows How to disburden the too tumid veins, Even how to ripen the half-labored blood : But to unlock the elemental tubes, Collapsed and shrunk with long inanity, And with balsamic nutriment repair The dried and worn-out habit, were to bid Old age grow green, and wear a second spring ; Or the tall ash, long ravished from the soil, Through withered veins imbibe the vernal dew.

But the day returned Of festal luxury, the wise indulge Most in the tender, vegetable breed ; Then chiefly when the Summer beams inflame The brazen heavens ; or angry Sirius sheds A feverish taint through the still gulf of air. The moist cool viands then, and flowing cup From the fresh dairy-virgin's liberal hand, (world Will save your head from harm, though round the The dreaded I Causos roll his wasteful fires.




ERATELY AFTER FAMINE. When hunger calls, obey ; nor often wait Till hunger sharpen to corrosive pain : For the keen appetite will feast beyond What nature well can bear; and one extreme Ne'er without danger meets its own reverse. Too greedily the exbausted veins absorb The recent chyle, and load enfeebled powers, Oft to the extinction of the vital flame. To the pale cities, by the firm-set siege, And famine, humbled, may this verse be borne ; And hear, ye hardiest sons that Albion breeds, Long tossed and famished on the wintry main ; The war shook off, or hospitable shore Attained, with temperance bear the shock of joy ; Nor crown with festive rites the auspicious day ; Such feast might prove more fatal than the waves, Than war, or famine. While the vital fire Burns feebly, heap not the green fuel on ; But prudently foment the wandering spark With what the soonest feels its kindred touch :

Pale humid Winter loves the generous board, The meal more copious, and a warmer fare ; And longs with old wood and old wine to cheer His quaking heart. The seasons which divide The empires of heat and cold ; by neither claimed, Influenced by both, a middle regimen Impose. Through autumn's languishing domain Descending, nature by degrees invites To glowing luxury. But, from the depth Of Winter when the invigorated year Emerges ; when Favonius, flushed with love, Toyful and young, in every breeze descends More warm and wanton on his kindling bride ; Then, shepherds, then begin to spare your flocks ; And learn, with wise humanity, to check The lust of blood. Now pregnant earth commits A various offspring to the indulgent sky; Now bounteous nature feeds with lavish hand The prone creation ; yields what once sufficed Their dainty sovereign, when the world was young; Ere yet the barbarous thirst of blood had seized The human breast. Each rolling month matures The food that suits it most ; so does each olime.

1 The burning fever.



Far in the horrid realms of winter, where
The established ocean heaps a monstrous waste
Of shining rocks and mountains to the pole ;
There lives a hardy race, whose plainest wants
Relentless earth, their cruel step-mother,
Regards not. On the waste of iron fields,
Untamed, intractable, no harvests wave :
Pomona hates them, and the clownish god
Who tends the garden. In this frozen world
Such cooling gifts were vain : a fitter meal
Is earned with ease ; for here the fruitful spawn
Of Ocean swarms, and heaps their genial board
With generous fare, and luxury profuse.
These are their bread, the only bread they know ;
These, and their willing slave the deer, that crops
The scrubby herbage on their meagre bills,
Or scales, for fattening moss,



Now let me wander through your gelid reign :
I burn to view the enthusiastic wilds
By mortal else untrod. I hear the din
Of waters thundering o'er the ruined cliffs.
With holy reverence I approach the rocks
Whence glide the streams renowned in ancient song.
Here from the desert down the rumbling steep
First springs the Nile ; here bursts the sounding Po
In angry waves ; Euphrates hence devolves
A mighty flood to water half the East ;
And there, in Gothic solitude reclined,
The cheerless Tanais pours his hoary urn.
What solemn twilight! What stupendous shades
Enwrap these infant floods! Through every nerve
A sacred horror thrills, a pleasing fear
Glides o'er my frame. The forest deepens round;
And more gigantic still the impending trees
Stretch their extravagant arms athwart the gloom !




Are these the confines of some fairy world? A land of Genii? Say, beyond these wilds What unknown nations? If indeed beyond Aught habitable lies. And whither leads, To what strange regions, or of bliss or pain, That subterraneous way? Propitious Maids, Conduct me, while with fearful steps I tread This trembling ground. The task remains to sing Your gifts (s0 Pæon, so the powers of health Command), to praise your crystal element, The chief ingredient in heaven's various works ; Whose flexile genius sparkles in the gem, Grows firm in oak, and fugitive in wine ; The vehicle, the source of nutriment And life, to all that vegetate or live.

Girt by the burning zone, not thus the south
Her swarthy sons, in either Ind, maintains ;
Or thirsty Libya ; from whose fervid loins
The lion bursts, and every fiend that roams
The affrighted wilderness. The mountain herd,
Adust and dry, no sweet repast affords ;
Nor does the tepid main such kinds produce,
So perfect, so delicious, as the shoals
Of icy Zembla. Rashly where the blood
Brews feverish frays; where scarce the tubes sustain
Its tumid fervor and tempestuous course ;
Kind nature tempts not to such gifts as these.
But here in livid ripeness melts the grape ;
Here, finished by invigorating suns,
Through the green shade the golden orange glows ;
Spontaneous here the turgid melon yields
A generous pulp ; the cocoa şwells on high
With milky riches; and in horrid mail
The crisp ananas wraps its poignant sweets :
Earth's vaunted progeny! - in ruder air
Too coy to flourish, e'en too proud to live ;
Or hardly raised by artificial fire
To vapid life. Here with a mother's smile
Glad Amalthea pours her copious horn ;
Here buxom Ceres reigns; the autumnal sea
In boundless billows fluctuates o'er their plains.
What suits the climate best, what suits the men,
Nature profuses most, and most the taste
Demands. The fountain, edged with racy wine
Or acid fruit, bedews their thirsty souls.
The breeze eternal breathing round their limbs
Supports in else intolerable air :
While the cool palm, the plantain, and the grove
That waves on gloomy Lebanon, assuage
The torrid hell that beams upon their heads.

Now come, ye Naiads, to the fountains lead ;


O comfortable streams! with eager lips And trembling hand the languid thirsty quaff New life in you ; fresh vigor fills their veins. No warmer cups the rural ages knew ; None warmer sought the sires of human kind. Happy in temperate peace! Their equal days Felt not the alternate fits of feverish mirth And sick dejection. Still serene and pleased, They knew no pains but what the tender soul With pleasure yields to, and would ne'er forget. Blest with divine immunity from ails, Long centuries they lived ; their only fato Was ripe old age, and rather sleep than death. 0! could those worthies from the world of gods Return to visit their degenerate sons, How would they scorn the joys of modern time With all our art and toil improved to pain ! Too happy they! But wealth brought luxury, And luxury on sloth begot disease.

[blocks in formation]

Opined, and thus the learned of every school.
What least of foreign principles partakes
Is best : the lightest then ; what bears the touch
Of fire the least, and soonest mounts in air ;
The most insipid ; the most void of sinell.
Such the rude mountain from his horrid sides
Pours down ; such waters in the sandy vale
Forever boil, alike of winter's frost
And summer's heat secure. The crystal stream,
Through rocks resounding, or for many a mile
O'er the chafed pebbles hurled, yields wholesome,

pure, And mellow draughts ; except when winter thaws, And half the mountains melt into the tide.

HOW, WHEN, AND WHERE, TO INDULGE IN WINE. Meantime, I would not always dread the bowl, Nor every trespass shun. The feverish strife, Roused by the rare debauch, subdues, expels, The loitering crudities that burden life ; And, like a torrent full and rapid, clears The obstructed tubes. Besides, this restless world Is full of chances, which by habit's power To learn to bear is easier than to shun. Ah ! when ambition, meagre love of gold, Or sacred country, calls, with mellowing wine To moisten well the thirsty suffrages : Say how, unseasoned to the midnight frays Of Comus and his rout, wilt thou contend With Centaurs long to hardy deeds inured ? Then learn to revel ; but by slow degrees : By slow degrees the liberal arts are won; And Hercules grew strong. But when you smooth The brows of care, indulge your festive vein In cups by well-informed experience found The least your bane ; and only with your friends. There are sweet follies : frailties to be seen By friends alone, and men of

generous minds.


Though thirst we e'er so resolute, avoid The sordid lake, and all such drowsy floods As fill from Lethe Belgia's slow canals (With rest corrupt, with vegetation green; Squalid with generation, and the birth Of little monsters); till the power of fire Has from profane embraces disengaged The violated lymph. The virgin stream In boiling wastes its finer soul in air.



0! seldom may the fated hours return Of drinking deep! I would not daily taste, Except when life declines, even sober cups. Weak, withering age no rigid law forbids, With frugal nectar, smooth and slow with balm, The sapless habit daily to bedew, And give the hesitating wheels of life Gliblier to play. But youth has better joys : And is it wise, when youth with pleasure flows, To squander the reliefs of age and pain ?

Nothing like simple element dilutes The food, or gives the chylo so soon to flow. But where the stomach, indolent and cold, Toys with its duty, animate with wine The insipid stream ; the golden Ceres yields A more voluptuous, a more sprightly draught ; Perhaps more active. Wine unmixed, and all The gluey floods that from the vexed abyss Of fermentation spring ; with spirit fraught, And furious with intoxicating fire; Retard concoction, and preserve unthawed The embodied mass. You see what countless years Embalmed in fiery quintessence of wine, The pany wonders of the reptile world, The tender rudiments of life, the slim Unravellings of minute anatomy, Maintain their texture, and unchanged remain.




What dextrous thousands just within the goal Of wild debauch direct their nightly course ? Perhaps no sickly qualms bedim their days, No morning admonitions shock the head. But, ah ! what woes remain ! life rolls apace, And that incurable disease, old age, In youthful bodies more severely felt, More sternly active, shakes their blasted prime : Except kind nature by some hasty blow Prevent the lingering fates. For know whate'er Beyond its natural fervor hurries on The sanguine tide ; whether the frequent bowl, High-seasoned fare, or exercise to toil Protracted ; spurs to its last stage tired life, And sows the temples with untimely snow.

We curse not wine : the vile excess we blame ; More fruitful than the accumulated hoard Of pain and misery. For the subtle draught Faster and surer swells the vital tide ; And with more active poison than the floods Of grosser crudity convey pervades The far-remote meanders of our frame. Ah ! sly deceiver ! branded o'er and o'er, Yet still believed ! exulting o'er the wreck Of sober vows! – But the Parnassian maids, Another time, perhaps, shall sing the joys, The fatal charms, the many woes of wine ; Perhaps its various tribes, and various powers.


When life is new, the ductile fibres feel
The heart's increasing force ; and, day by day,
The growth advances ; till the larger tubes,
Acquiring (from their elementall veins,

1 See Armstrong'sArt of Health,' "The Passions,' under · January'

1 In the human body, as well as in the bodies of other animals, the larger blood vessels are composed of smaller ones ;

Destroys itself; and could these laws have changed,
Nestor might now the fates of Troy relate ;
And Homer live immortal as his song.



Condensed to solid chords) a firmer tone,
Sustain, and just sustain, the impetuous blood.
Here stops the growth. With overbearing pulse
And pressure, still the great destroy the small ;
Still with the ruins of the small grow strong.
Life glows meantime, amid the grinding force
Of viscous fluids and elastic tubes ;
Its various functions vigorously are plied
By strong machinery; and in solid health
The man confirmed long triumphs o'er disease.
But the full ocean ebbs ; there is a point,
By nature fixed, whence life must downward tend.
For still the beating tide consolidates
The stubborn vessels, more reluctant still
To the weak throbs of the ill-supported heart.
This languishing, these strengthening by degrees
To hard, unyielding, unelastic bone,
Through tedious channels the congealing flood
Crawls lazily, and hardly wanders on ;
It loiters still : and now it stirs no more.
This is the period few attain ; the death
Of nature ; thus (so Heaven ordained it) life

What does not fade? The tower that long had The crash of thunder and the warring winds, (stood Shook by the slow but sure destroyer, Time, Now hangs in doubtful ruins o'er its base. And flinty pyramids, and walls of brass, Descend : the Babylonian spires are sunk ; Achaia, Rome, and Egypt, moulder down. Time shakes the stable tyranny of thrones, And tottering empires rush by their own weight. This huge rotundity we tread grows old, And all those worlds that roll around the Sun, The Sun himself, shall die, and ancient Night Again involve the desolate abyss : Till the great Father through the lifeless gloom Extend his arm to light another world, And bid new planets roll by other laws. For through the regions of unbounded space, Where unconfined Omnipotence has room, Being, in various systems, fluctuates still Between creation and abhorred decay : It ever did : perhaps and ever will. New worlds are still emerging from the deep ; The old descending, in their turns to rise.

which, by the violent motion and pressure of the fluids in the large vessels, lose their cavities by degrees, and degenerate into impervious chords or fibres. In proportion as these small vessels become solid, the larger must of course grow less extensile, more rigid, and make a stronger resistance to the action of the heart, and force of the blood. From this gradual condensation of the smaller vessels, and consequent rigidity of the larger ones, the progress of the human body, from infancy to old age, is accounted for.

Tusser's "July's


No tempest, good July, Forgotten month past,

Lest corn all look ruly. Do now at the last. Go muster thy servants, be captain thyself, Providing them weapons, and other like pelf : Get bottles and wallets, keep field in the heat, The fear is as much as the danger is great. With tossing and raking, and setting on cocks, Grass lately in swathes is hay for an ox : That done, go and cart it, and have it away, The battle is fought, ye have gotten the day. Pay justly thy tithes, whatsoever thou be, That God may, in blessing, send foison to thee : Though vicar be bad, or the parson as evil, Go not for thy tithing thyself to the devil. Let hay be well made, or avise else a vous, For moulding in now, or of firing the house. Lay warsest aside, for the ox and the cow, The finest for sheep and thy gelding allow. Then down with the headlands, that groweth about, Leave never a dallop,? unmown and had out; Though grass bę but thin about barley and pease, Yet pickéd up clean, ye shall find therein ease. Thryfallow betime, for destroying of weed, Lest thistle and dock fall a blooming and seed : Such season may chance, it shall stand thee upon, To till again, ere a summer be gone.

Not rent off, but cut off, ripe bean with a knife,
For hindering stalk, of her vegetive life.
So gather the lowest, and leaving the top,
Shall teach thee a trick, for to double thy crop.
Wife, pluck fro thy seed hemp the fimble hemp clean,
This looketh more yellow, the other more green :
Use t'one for thy spinning, leave Michell the t'other,
For shoe-thread and halter, for rope and such other.
Now pluck up thy fax, for the maidens to spin,
First see it dried, and timely got in :
And mow up thy brank,) and away with it dry,
And house it up close, out of danger to lie.
While wormwood hath seed, get a handful or twain,
To save against March, to make flea to refrain :
When chamber is sweepéd, and wormwood is strown,
No flea, for his life, dare abide to be known.
What savor is better, if physic be true,
For places infected, than wormwood and rue ?
It is as a comfort for heart and the brain,
And therefore to have it, it is not in vain.
Get grist to the mill to have plenty in store,
Lest miller lack water, as many do more.
The meal the more yieldeth if servant be true,
And miller that tolleth take none but his due.

1 Assure yourself. ? Patch unploughed. 3 Buckwheat.

Rural Odes for ulj.

[blocks in formation]

BRYANT'S “ AFTER A TEMPEST.” The day had been a day of wind and storm ;

The wind was laid, the storm was overpast, And stooping from the zenith, bright and warm,

Shone the great sun on the wide earth, at last.

I stood upon the upland slope, and cast My eye upon a broad and beauteous scene,

Where the vast plain lay girt by mountains vast, And hills o'er hills lifted their heads of green, With pleasant vales scooped out and villages between. The rain-drops glistened on the trees around,

Whose shadows on the tall grass were not stirred, Save when a shower of diamonds to the ground

Was shaken by the flight of startled bird ;

For birds were warbling round, and bees were heard About the flowers ; the cheerful rivulet sung

And gossiped, as he hastened ocean-ward ; To the gray oak the squirrel, chiding, clung, And chirping from the ground the grasshopper up

sprung And from beneath the leaves that kopt them dry

Flew many a glittering insect here and there, And darted up and down the butterfly,

That seemed a living blossom of the air.

The flocks came scattering from the thicket, where The violent rain had pent them, in the way

Strolled groups of damsels frolicsome and fair, The farmer swung the scythe or turned the hay, And 'twixt the heavy swaths his children were at

play. It was a scene of peace — and, like a spell,

Did that serene and golden sunlight fall l'pon the motionless wood that clothed the cell,

And precipice upspringing like a wall,

And glassy river and white waterfall,
And happy living things that trod the bright

And beauteous scene ; while, far beyond them all,
On many a lovely valley, out of sight,
Was poured from the blue heavens the same soft

golden light. I looked, and thought the quiet of the scene

An emblem of the peace that yet shall be, When o'er earth's continents and isles between

The noise of war shall cease from sea to sea,

And married nations dwell in harmony. When millions, crouching in the dust to one,

No more shall beg their lives on bended knee, Nor the black stake be dressed, nor in the sun The o'erlabored captive toil, and wish his life were


ROGERS'S “ RURAL RETREAT." MINE be a cot beside the hill;

A bee-hivo's hum shall soothe my ear ; A willowy brook, that turns a mill,

With many a fall, shall linger near. The swallow, oft, beneath my thatch,

Shall twitter from her clay-built nest ; Oft shall the pilgrim lift the latch,

And share my meal, a welcome guest. Around my ivied porch shall spring

Each fragrant flower that drinks the dew ; And Lucy, at her wheel, shall sing,

In russet-gown and blue. The village church, among the trees,

Where first our marriage vows were given, With merry peals shall swell the breeze,

And point with taper spire to heaven.



From the river's plashy bank,
Where the sedge grows green and rank,

And the twisted woodbine springs,
Upward speeds the morning lark
To its silver cloud — and hark !

On his way the woodman sings.
On the dim and misty lakes
Gloriously the morning breaks,

And the eagle's on his cloud :-
Whilst the wind, with sighing, woos
To its arms the chaste cold ooze,

And the rustling reeds pipe loud.
Where the embracing ivy holds
Close the hoar elm in its folds,

In the meadow's fenny land;
And the winding river sweeps
Through its shallows and still deeps, –

Silent with my rod I stand.

« PreviousContinue »